My short bio: Paige was born HIV Positive and bullied severely in middle school because of her HIV status. Her classmates called her cruel nicknames, such as PAIDS. Her soccer coach even made a joke about how her HIV status could help the team because the opposing teammates wouldn't want to touch her. And the school administrators let her down by not protecting her. After leaving her middle school, she decided to take a stand and started to speak out sharing her story. At the age of fourteen, Paige was granted special permission to become the youngest person to ever be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Educator. She even pleaded to congress in her home state of Indiana and helped pass the Anti-bullying Bill #1423 that was affective July 1, 2013.

She has written a book that will be released later this month entitled Positive: Surviving my bullies, finding hope, and changing the world.

She currently is volunteering for Project Kindle, a camp for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

If you're interested in learning more or being notified when Paige's book is released and tour information, sign up below. To sign up for email updates on Paige:

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Comments: 110 • Responses: 26  • Date: 

gaiaimpulse13 karma

Hello Paige, so glad that you are standing up for people who are suffering from bully and abuse as HIV patients. If I were you, I don't even know whether I will have the courage to stand up for what I believe in after going through such hardship. I'm sure many HIV patients are apreciative of what you are doing for them!

May I know how did news of you being a HIV patient got spreaded into the school? What's the turning point in your life when you decide to be an activist and stand up for what you believe in?

prairiefox24 karma

During sixth grade, I disclosed to my best friend at the time that I was HIV positive. Within just a few hours of telling her my HIV status I began being bullied because of it and within a few weeks my entire middle school knew. In eighth grade the bullying just got to the point where I no longer could handle being at the school, so I withdrew from the school and after I left I decided that I didn't want to have to see anyone else go through what I went through. So I began sharing my story and educating others on the disease to help reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS.

gaiaimpulse3 karma

Oh Goodness, what a friend!

But, would you say that without this 'friend', would you be where you are right now? Being an activist and all

prairiefox6 karma

I've been asked many times before if I would take back telling that so-called friend. Personally, I wouldn't take it back because if I wouldn't have gone through what all I went through I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't have chose to be out speaking and sharing my story.

razahtlab8 karma

In terms of dating and sex life, is it inevitable that your partner/husband will eventually contract HIV? What are the risks? How do you manage them?

prairiefox14 karma

No it is not a for sure thing that my partner will contract HIV. There are many ways to prevent from passing on the disease, such as using a condom and also I was asked earlier about pre-exposure medication that is out there now. So that is also/can be an option. But also, it is harder for women to pass on HIV than it is for men to pass on HIV through sex.

straydog19806 karma

Has anybody from your school grown up and apologised to you for what they did?

prairiefox12 karma

I actually have not received any apologies from the kids that bullied me.

don-chocodile4 karma

I'm sorry to hear about your struggles, both physically and emotionally. My question is, what should the general population know about HIV/AIDS that most people probably don't know, and what can the general population do to help?

prairiefox15 karma

People should know that being HIV positive is no longer a death sentence. There's plenty of treatment out there for people with HIV. Also, that you can not tell by looking at someone that they are HIV positive. A lot of people believe that HIV can be spread through touch or saliva or sharing a drink with someone and that is NOT true. The only four bodily fluids HIV is passed through are blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk.

Confetti-In-My-Pants4 karma

Is your mother still alive? If so,how is your relationship today? Have you known your whole life you were positive? If not, how did you find out?

prairiefox18 karma

My mother is still alive and she is living a healthy life with her HIV. After everything I went through in middle school, it actually brought us closer. Now she is someone that I go to about anything. I didn't find out I was HIV positive until I was 12 years old. My mom planned on telling me earlier, but my father had passed away from an AIDS related illness and didn't want to scare me and wanted to make sure I would understand.

I found out because as I got older I started to have many questions on why I was taking medication and having to go to the doctor so much. I began to pay more attention at my doctors' appointments and would hear the word HIV. One day in fifth grade we were talking about HIV in class and I came home and asked my mom if I was HIV positive or negative and that's when she told me that I was positive, but I would be okay as long as I took my medication.

Confetti-In-My-Pants7 karma

I just want to say you are a very strong girl to be able to over come and accomplish at such a young age. I appreciate you so much for being able to turn such a negative stigma into a positive situation. The world needs more people like you. I wish the best for you and your family.

prairiefox6 karma

Thank you!

paintballpmd3 karma

Good to see you are taking your pain from bullying and turning it into a positive by trying to help other kids. If you could give one piece of advice to kids going through what you went through, what would it be?

prairiefox6 karma

I want to tell the kids that it's not okay to be bullied for any reason and that there are always going to be people out there that are ignorant. It's just all about how you deal with the situation and how you let what people say affect you. Also, I want kids to know that IT IS OKAY to ask someone for help and to let people know what's going on. And if the person you tell doesn't do something then tell someone else!

Mrs_Fonebone3 karma

So what are the goals of your activism? What changes would you like to see, and which ones do you think are possible?

prairiefox6 karma

My goals personally are to reduce the stigma out there towards HIV/AIDS. I want people who are HIV positive to not be seen as not normal. I want people to know that people who are HIV positive are just like everyone else! I believe that society has come a long way since HIV has been out there, but I really feel that we have a long way to go. I think that education is the key!

Another_Fevered_Ego-1 karma

I'm not sure that stigma exists in the adult world. Than again I'm from San Francisco. It sounds like plain middle school kids being kids on top of your terrible afliction. Have you encountered this stigma on a personal level in your adult life?

prairiefox6 karma

Yes, stigma does exist in adult world. Even in middle school I suffered bullying and no support from the teachers and administrators. My soccer coach even made a joke that we could use my HIV status to our advantage and players on the other team would be afraid to touch me and I could score goals. I just finished my first year of college and I even was bullied and had to deal with the stigma there.

Even here at Camp Kindle we were renting a campsite and the cleaning staff were overheard saying they were going to wash their skin with bleach after cleaning the bathrooms, so they wouldn't get HIV.

Another_Fevered_Ego2 karma

I am sorry to hear that. That is truly unfortunate. Many people are ignorant to the facts of what HIV is and how it is transmitted. Stay strong OP.

prairiefox3 karma


hicar1282 karma

How did everyone know that you had HIV in school; isn't it your choice whether you tell them or not?

prairiefox2 karma

That's a great question, I answered it earlier. Check u/gaiaimpulse question at the top. Let me know if you have a follow up!

ArtGoftheHunt2 karma

I don't know much about living with HIV. How has it affected your life besides being bullied?

prairiefox5 karma

Being HIV positive really hasn't made anything else in my life hard. The only thing for me is the stigma out there. Also, that I have a weaker immune system, so for me when I get a cold of a viral infection I have to get put on antibiotics right away to make sure it doesn't turn into anything else. Also, I have to watch and make sure I get plenty of rest and also I'm not getting too stressed out because those can both be bad on my immune system.

Jendabi2 karma

Did you feel that secrecy about your status was a burden in your early life?

prairiefox2 karma

No, because I grew up just like any other normal kid. I had a happy and healthy life.

Jendabi2 karma

So would you advise parents not to disclose their child's status?

prairiefox3 karma

I understand why my mom chose to tell me later on, but I also don't think that parents should hide their status from their children. When I found out I didn't have a negative reaction. I knew I was healthy and that I would be okay as long as I took my medication, so to me there was no difference when I found out to me.

Also, I think that it's different for everyone. It's different for each family when they decide to disclose.

CuddlyCarrion2 karma

A couple of questions...

Do you ever worry about someone contracting HIV from you?

How do you feel about having children? Are there any effective ways in reducing the risk of transmitting HIV during pregnancy or childbirth?

prairiefox5 karma

I don't worry about someone contracting HIV from me because I know the proper precautions to take. Also, it's harder for a girl to pass on HIV than it is for a guy to pass on HIV through sex.

I personally plan on having children when I am older. When a woman who is HIV positive is pregnant and she takes her HIV medications it reduces the risk. Also, if the mother has a c-section then it also reduces the risk.

Abovethree172 karma

How has it affected your love life emotionally and physically?

prairiefox3 karma

For me, it hasn't affected my love life emotionally or physically. Once I tell a person I'm talking to or dating that I'm positive that have been fine with it. Mainly it's just been when the guy tells their parents and then their parents have lots of questions or don't feel comfortable with it.

LifesABowlofJerrys2 karma

Hello Paige, how was the transition from being bullied to accepting your condition and becoming an activist? What was the process and steps between those for you?

prairiefox8 karma

When the bullying first began I felt as if something was wrong with me and didn't understand why people were bullying me, but soon after I realized that there is nothing to be ashamed of with being HIV positive. I realized that no one should be bullied for any reason and so I didn't want to see anyone go through what I went through, so I began sharing my story.

Jendabi1 karma

Can you tell us a little about your experiences at Camp Kindle?

prairiefox2 karma

My experiences at Camp Kindle have been amazing. I started coming to Camp Kindle when I was 15. I had never met anyone who was HIV positive that's my age or is impacted by the disease. So coming to camp gave me a lot of hope for people out there living with HIV/AIDS. I don't know who or where I would be if I didn't have the support of my Camp Kindle family!

dreadddit1 karma

Very brave of you to be here on Reddit.
I have a question on the kind of medication you take. Do you know how its been helping you? has the dosage been increased/decreased since childhood?

prairiefox4 karma

I have been on the same medication for the past few years and it has kept my virus undetectable, meaning that the virus is not active in my body. When I was a child I took quite a few pills a day, but now I am taking just one pill a day. The pill I am on now, ATRIPLA, only has one dosage.

Colemanpants1 karma

What advice would you give someone who just found out they were HIV positive. Advice on their love life/ future sex life. Advice on how/ who to tell the news to? Thank you so much for doing this AMA.

prairiefox2 karma

I would tell someone who just found out they are HIV positive that they should go to a doctor immediately, but to not freak out. HIV is no longer a death sentence. Also, I think that deciding when to tell someone is a personal choice. But also take into consideration who that may affect, such as family and friends.

Gamertroid1 karma

Woah. I've been bullied when I was in school but I bet you've had it so, so much harder. May I ask how you dealt with the bullying?

prairiefox6 karma

After awhile the bullying began to be really hard for me after I wasn't receiving any support. But my way of coping with it was telling someone and talking to my mom and the friends that I did have then. Also, I soon began to realize that the people who were bullying me were obviously not people that I needed to have in my life.

Wolf-Anthems1 karma

Hello Paige, thank you so much for doing this AMA. I work closely with HIV positive clients through my career and am always keen on learning more about it. For my question, and I mean this in the most respectful way, but how does being HIV positive affect you with any potential relationships or partners?

prairiefox2 karma

I actually answered this earlier with some detail. Please see u/Abovethree17 question above. Also, for me I tend to tell the person right at the start so that way if they have a problem it prevents either one of us from getting hurt in the long run.

CoughCoughMom1 karma

Hi Paige, you're courage is amazing. Very true that many people don't realize that with today's medications, HIV patients can live long, healthy lives.

My question is, what are your thoughts on PrEp medications. Do you speak on these at all?

prairiefox3 karma

I know what they are and I recommend them, but I'm not an expert to speak on these. If you have questions about these, then maybe ask your doctor.

momoftwinssisters1 karma

Why do you think you were bullied in middle school as opposed to earlier in life? What would you tell a young HIV positive girl making the transition into middle school?

prairiefox3 karma

No one besides my family knew my HIV status before I was in middle school. I would tell them that middle school already can be cruel sometimes, but that doesn't mean they have to hide their HIV status. At some point people who are positive have to take a risk and tell someone that doesn't know whether that's another family member or friend. For me, once people found out I was HIV positive I was able to find out who my true friends are and who would be here for me through anything.

Jendabi1 karma

What is your advice to younger kids who are HIV positive? Thank you, Paige, for being such a positive role model.

prairiefox3 karma

My advice to them would be to not hide the fact that they are HIV positive because it's not anything to be ashamed of. Also, to know that if they choose to disclose and some of their friends choose to no longer be friends, than that just helps them see who is their true friends and willing to stick by them!